God Heard Her Desperate Prayer

Ofelia is a survivor of human trafficking. And with National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, her story is one you’ll need to hear.

KERN COUNTY, CA — Meet Ofelia Flores. She’s a living miracle. See her today and you’d never know she is anything but blessed, and living out the American dream.

Ofelia Flores. Photo by CityServe.us

A bookkeeper by trade, she’s a successful mother of five in Kern County, Calif. She volunteers at church, cares lovingly for her grandkids, and even helps local law enforcement by speaking to at-risk youth.

But although you’d never know it to look at her life today, Ofelia is a survivor of human trafficking. And with January designated National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, her story is one you’ll need to hear.

Experts estimate that 24.9 million human beings made in God’s image are ensnared in a brutal world of trafficking and exploitation.

That means there’s a pretty good chance there’s an Ofelia living somewhere near you, trapped in a seemingly hopeless nightmare. Her story is living proof that God loves every single trafficking victim and wants to see them redeemed.

Ofelia Flores. Photo by CityServe.us

At age 16, Ofelia was lured onto a road of heroin addiction and trafficking by her own sister, and later trafficked by her so-called boyfriend.

This is how it began…

To escape her broken family, she moved in with an older sister she looked up to. But Ofelia didn’t know her older sister would soon become a heroin user.

Her sister introduced Ofelia to heroin. Soon she became addicted. And that propelled them on an endless, desperate search to find money to purchase drugs.

“One day,” Ofelia recalls, “my sister told me, ‘I can’t be doing this all by myself. You’re going to have to help me hustle.’ I didn’t know what that meant.”

What it meant was selling herself for money. She was just 16.

Betrayal, Heroin, and Human Slavery…

“I was scared to death but I loved my sister and we needed heroin or else we would get very, very sick,” she recalls.

She was incarcerated twice as a juvenile and stopped going to school. Eventually, a 30-year-old man with a wife and kids began trafficking her as well.

“I’m sure he saw me coming from a mile away,” she says.

Then one day, she realized she was unable to get herself off the drugs. So she fell to her knees and prayed for a miracle.

“I don’t even know how to pray to you God!” she remembers crying out. “Who do I pray to?

“Well,” she continued, “if anybody’s listening, help me! I need out! I need to get out! Somehow, someway … this has to stop and I can’t do it by myself. So if there’s anybody up there, please can you help me?”

God heard her desperate prayer and she soon knew what she had to do.

She walked into the sheriff’s department one day and told them everything – the abuse, the neglect, the drugs, the trafficking … all of it. When she was done, they handcuffed her and put her under arrest for using heroin. But that was okay – it’s what finally broke the addiction.

“When I got out of incarceration,” she recalls, “I went to a church and had such a release at that altar. God knew everything. It was just like a huge weight I’d been carrying around was suddenly off of me. I didn’t have to carry that anymore.”

Her relationship with Jesus developed when she was 18. But it was decades later when she joined a faith-based counseling program, and later a church-based women’s group.

“That was when the trauma began to heal,” she recalls.

Bringing Kids Back Home to God

Today, Ofelia visits juvenile detention centers to speak with young women stuck in circumstances just like hers. She offers them living proof that by God’s grace the victims of human trafficking and addiction can find deliverance and redemption.

She shared her story with CityServe as part of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. CityServe is the faith-based nonprofit that empowers and resources a network of thousands of churches across the United States to serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. One of the network’s biblically based compassion initiatives is to help The Exploited. Just visit Cityserve.us to learn more.

Today, Ofelia counsels young girls at the detention center that as long as they’re alive and breathing, there’s hope. And she’s the living proof it’s true.

One day at church, she says, she saw a familiar face.

It was a young girl she’d met while speaking to a group of young women locked up in a detention center.

“I’m in a program now,” the girl told her. “You gave me hope that people like us can change.”

“We sure can,” replied Ofelia with a smile. “And we’re doing it.’

Read more news on Non Profit Organizations, Humanitarian Services, and Human Trafficking.

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